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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Is First Brooklyn Hospital to Receive “Baby-Friendly” Designation

Hospital Also Celebrates Redesigned Mother-Baby Unit

Jul 12, 2017

Brooklyn, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health care system, today announced that NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull has become the first hospital in Brooklyn to receive the coveted “Baby-Friendly” designation. Awarded by Baby-Friendly USA, an initiative of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the designation recognizes hospitals that encourage and promote breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding.

The “Baby-Friendly” news was announced at an event celebrating the one-year anniversary of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull’s redesigned Mother-Baby unit.

“Achieving Baby-Friendly USA designation reflects the commitment we have made to ensure the best care for our community,” said Gregory Calliste, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. “By emphasizing the many benefits of breastfeeding, we are empowering women to make the best choices for their babies and themselves.”

Seven hospitals within the public health system now have the Baby-Friendly designation, which is awarded following a rigorous on-site survey. The designation is also reviewed every five years.

In 2016, 1,547 babies were born at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. The hospital’s new Mother-Baby unit features 15 private rooms where infants can room in, allowing for an early bonding opportunity between mother and child. Of the babies born in the unit last year, 92 percent received mother’s milk.

“We are thrilled to have achieved the Baby Friendly USA designation,” said Paul Kastell, MD, Chief of Service for OB/GYN at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. “Our hospital joins an elite group of only 20 out of 130 maternity hospitals in New York State to attain this prestigious recognition. Baby Friendly USA promotes a proven methodology that encourages breastfeeding and mother-infant bonding.”

“This initiative empowers women to make educated decisions about their infant-feeding practices,” said, Brittany Wright, MPH, Breast Feeding Facilitator at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. “It is a building block toward improving the long-term health outcomes of the community.”

To receive the designation, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull was required to meet or exceed patient care standards in a rigorous on-site evaluation by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, including:

  • A comprehensive education program that offers mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding;
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact for mother and baby after birth;
  • Intensive education of both patients and hospital staff about the important benefits and management of breastfeeding;
  • Policies allowing newborns to stay with mothers 24 hours a day;
  • Provision of information and connections for breastfeeding support groups in the area.

“Congratulations to NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull for achieving the first ‘Baby-Friendly’ designation in Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The bond between a newborn and its mother is the most sacred in life. I commend the team at Woodhull for going above and beyond to encourage that physical and spiritual connection.”

“Woodhull Hospital’s ‘Baby Friendly’ designation marks the incredible services provided by this institution to all New Yorkers. Their investment in education on the importance of breastfeeding and mother-infant bonding is invaluable and contributes to a stronger and healthier community. For years, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull has been a tremendous partner to the sustainability of our City. I am so proud that they are being recognized for their contributions and even more proud that North Brooklyn gets to be home to this national designation in the borough.”

“As Central Brooklyn embarks upon its global hospital transformation and kicks off its “Vital Brooklyn” initiatives, we beam with pride as we congratulate NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull for their designation as the first Baby Friendly hospital in Brooklyn. We look forward to supporting you in this endeavor to empower and support healthy women, healthy children and healthy families throughout this community “, said Tremaine S. Wright, 56th District Assembly member for Bedford Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights.

“Woodhull serves as a model of community health services in Brooklyn. This designation ensures that residents in Bedford Stuyvesant, and throughout Brooklyn, continue to receive high quality infant feeding services. Mothers and their babies will get the best start possible. I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull as they implement this global criteria and joins the ranks of Baby-Friendly designated facilities throughout the world,” stated Council Member, Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

“The health and well-being of newborns is regarded as a key indicator of the health and wellness of populations the world over. For that reason, I’ve long advocated for improving women’s access to quality healthcare before and after childbirth. I’m immensely proud of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Hospital and staff and their designation as Brooklyn’s first Baby Friendly hospital. Nothing is nobler than providing a mother and child a safe and nurturing environment that marks the beginning of a life-long bond,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.